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Stress

How to breathe mindfully

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We all go through life at 100 miles an hour, we´re living very fast paced times and we don´t take time to stop everything that´s going on outside and just sit, relax and stay calm for a couple of minutes. We just let things keep going around us like a tornado. Are you able to stay on the center calm and relax while everything around you is going crazy?

It doesn´t matter if you´re going through the hardest times of your life or if you´re living the best years of your life, mindful breathing is for all of us, you may have heard of mindful meditation where you focus and concentrate on the now, you bring your mind and your attention to this present moment. You may think that it´s too spiritual, it´s not for you and you´ll never try it, but you can skip the meditation process and stay with the breathing part. Mindful breathing is a key part of mindful meditation.

Mindful breathing improves the physiology and function of your entire body including your heart and brain. When you practice mindful breathing you´re not only able to lower stress but also you improve performance and make better decisions. It´s easier for you to process emotions and come up with more solutions to any situation or problem.

You can start with mindful breathing exercises and as you get better on it take that mindful breathing and add a mind-body training exercise. You can do this by still keeping some of your focus on your breathing patterns and start focusing on your body, how relax and calm you feel, relaxing your muscles and keeping your mind clear of all thoughts. All this helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate, lower stress, it keeps you calm. If you do this exercise in the morning you´ll find out that it´s easier for you to stay calm and maintain your impulses under control so you don´t over react in any situation.

Mindful breathing is all about focusing on your breathe, keeping it slow and control following a certain pattern. Here are some simple steps you can follow for a mindful breathing exercise:

1.- Find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes

2.- Direct all your attention to your breathing,

3.- Take a deep breathe in, through your nose for a count of 5

4.- Hold your breathe for a couple of seconds

5.- Exhale slowly, through your mouth for a count of 5

6.- Repeat 5 or 6 times

When you start doing this exercise you´ll need to do it on a quiet place so you can concentrate on what you´re doing, with practice you´ll be able to do this everywhere and in any situation, if for some reason you find yourself in a very stressful situation or you feel anxious, you may had received a terrible news and you feel you start panicking you can do this exercise to calm yourself, and reduce that stress and anxiety so that you can act the best way possible.

Life is hard, we all have good days and bad days, for some of us, some of those bad days can turn into bad weeks or months, in most cases we can turn that around and have just one bad day and don´t let it affect the entire week by how we respond or react to certain situations, some of us make a big deal on even small things so one way to respond as best as possible is to remain calm so that we can think better and make better choices, there are occasions in which the best we can do is just remain calm. Mindful breathing will help with this, the moment you are able to stop for a couple of minutes and just breathe mindfully you´ll find yourself watching all the craziness going on around you while you are able to remain calm and relax.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

The relationship between stress and health

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We all know someone who has been diagnosed with a chronic or immune disease, we all know someone who got sick after going through a hard time, in fact you may had gone through this a couple of times.

If you´ve been following me on social media and reading some of the posts you may know by now that for me, stress plays a huge role on maintaining optimal health. It´s been said that many of the visits to the doctor are caused by stress and we can agree with that.

We´re living very stressful times, must of us live with high levels of chronic stress and think this is how we´re supposed to live because that´s what we´ve seen our entire lives. We see our parents, uncles, aunts, etc; struggling financially worrying about how are they going to make it until the next pay check, how are they going to pay the bills, how are they going to buy some stuff that´s really needed. We see them depressed, anxious and worried because they know they can lose their job at any time, they complain about their boss and some coworkers. When we start school, high school or college we also start experiencing some stress, if there´s a class or teacher we don´t like we get anxious and going to class every day makes the entire day, week and month a terrible experience, if we´re bullied things get worse. And to make it all worse, the teachers and parents don´t seem to care.

If we add to this that most of us spend long hours in traffic to get to school or our job and back home and we know that if we don´t arrive on time they are going to discount the day from the next pay check or maybe we will lose the exam the levels of stress increase.

We spend most of our day worrying, anxious, with stress and this leads to diseases. It´s not normal to live with high levels of chronic stress, we get to a point where our body can´t handle all that stress and it starts to give up, this is when we start noticing that there´s something going wrong with our health, we start feeling bad and we start paying attention to the symptoms. When we get to this point things have been going wrong for a long time.

When we are stressed our body turns off some systems and functions in our body to make sure we can stay safe, it takes all the energy  and focus to make sure we are aware of everything going on and that we can fight or run to protect ourselves, but during this time all those systems and functions that are turn off make it easier for us to get sick, our body is not able to fight viruses, it´s like if some defense mechanisms are not working. This is why we get sick after we´ve gone through very tough situations.

We do need some stress, but we need it for short periods of time but when it´s for too long then our body keeps trying to maintain all the energy and focus in that awareness state and ready to run even when we´re sitting on the couch and not being chased by a tiger and for all this long time our body is not working efficiently. The systems that are supposed to protect us from viruses and toxins are not working.

Some experts have related stress as one of the causes of cancer, and even when stress may not be the one causing it directly it do has a negative impact on our body making it easier for the disease to advance more rapidly and this happens not only with cancer, because all systems and hormones on our body and not working in harmony. When the hormones and systems of our body get out of balance that´s when the problems begin and the more time we maintain this imbalance the more problems it will cause.

This is why making sure that you have a strategy or tool you can follow for a couple of minutes at every moment you need it, meditation and breathing are great tools you can use to lower stress, meditating for a couple of minutes in the morning and at night helps you clear your mind and get into a calm and relaxed state. When you´re in a stressful situation breathing exercises are great to help you lower stress and remain calm in that moment.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

How stress and food cravings are related.

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Stress is a huge problem for most of us and if you want to lose weight and you´re following any program but for some reason you can´t stop eating, stress may be the reason.

Stress makes you eat, you may have heard of emotional eating which is something I´m sure you´ve done, use food to cope with stressful and emotional situations. You don´t need to feel like a failure, guilty or ashamed, I´m done this too and a lot more people but if you want to lose weight and improve your health you need to change that pattern.

Now, I need to mention that overeating is not completely your fault. There´s a reason why when you feel stressed, down, depressed, anxious, bored you go for unhealthy foods, this foods are high in unhealthy fats, loaded with sugar and extra ingredients to make them taste delicious but they also create addiction, they make you feel good by activating the reward center of the brain but this only last for a couple hours and then you want more of those comfort foods creating a vicious cycle.

I´ve mentioned in a past post that stress is good and we need some of it, if stress is used the right way it actually shuts down appetite because your body goes to the fight or flight response and turns off some systems and functions in your body that are not necessary at the moment and one of those is eating, but the problem comes when that stress remains high. When this happens other hormones on your body are affected by the chronic stress, hormones like insulin, cortisol, ghrelin play a huge role on how much you eat and if they´re out of sync you eat more.

So stress affects your hormones which leads to food cravings especially unhealthy foods and all the unhealthy fats and sugar that those unhealthy foods contain also affect your hormones and cause addiction so both of this situations lead to a negative cycle of overeating which not only makes it impossible for you to lose weight but also to maintain optimal health.

There are 2 ways you can stop this negative cycle, one of those is by lowering stress and the other by changing your diet. Here´s one tool to help you reduce stress:

1.- Breathing exercises.- Taking a couple of minutes every morning or every night or even when you´re feeling stressed out to do some breathing exercises is a great way to lower stress. You don´t need to do anything complicated just stop what you´re doing and bring your mind to focus on your breathe, take a slow deep breathe in, hold it for a couple of seconds, and slowly breathe out. Dot his 4 or 5 times and you´ll feel more relax and calm.

Every time you start feeling stressed and you catch yourself eating, the moment you catch yourself ask if you are really hungry or if you´re feeling any negative emotion or stress, if you´re not hungry leave whatever you´re eating and take some deep slow breathes.

If you ask the question every time you eat you´ll find out that there are many cases that you´re eating to cope with a negative emotion, because you´re tired, bored or you´ve made it a habit but you´re not really hungry so if you´re not hungry leave the food down and go do other stuff.

To stop cravings by changing your diet here´s what you need to do:

1.- Eliminate all unhealthy seed oils, and sugar. For this you need to read labels if you´re going to buy food that comes in a package, make sure to read the ingredients parts because that´s where you find out if that product contains something you need to avoid. If you want to take it to the next level and get rid of those cravings fast then just eat healthy fats and protein, just eat meat, eggs, bacon and some nuts especially pecans, coconut oil and olive oil. Going carnivore for a period of time is a great way but it´s so hard to get through it so if you don´t want to go carnivore which I´m not recommending go for meat and healthy fats as I mentioned before.

Remember that if you want to make a change to your diet you need to talk to your doctor or care professional first.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

Reframe de situation

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Yes, life is hard sometimes more than others, we all go through tough situations but how much we let those situations affect us and how we respond is our choice and the way we respond can make the situation better or worse.

Most of react in a negative way to even small things or situations, we let simple and small situations take complete control of us, of our emotions, our thoughts and our actions and we end up making everything worse than it actually is. If we let this happen with small things then when we´re in a really tough situations we break apart emotionally and mentally, but there´s a tool we can use to help us get the most out of any challenge, every situation and every moment, this tool is reframing.

It doesn´t matter how bad everything seems to be, it doesn´t matter how big a challenge seems to be or how tough any situation appear you always have the choice to see that challenge or that tough situation from another angle, another perspective or another view. Instead of letting your mind just focusing on the negative you train your mind to focus on the positive, to find every positive outcome and solution so you are opened to more possibilities and you lower stress.

Most of us when something happen we get stuck in our perspective, we view everything just from one side or one frame and in most cases it´s negative so by changing that perspective and seeing the situations from another side or another frame we open ourselves to different possibilities, we get more insights of what´s happening, we understand more so our thoughts, emotions and actions change.

Most of us let small things get in the way, in this happens every single day so since we´re used to get stuck in one negative frame for everything that happens to us and we need to train our mind to reframe every situations we can start with those small ones until we reframe all situations unconsciously.

Here are the steps you need to follow to reframe any situation:

1.- Describe the situation you´re going through.- Try to find out what caused that situation and everything that happened

2.- Be aware of your beliefs.- Make a list of all the thought and beliefs you got in your mind related to that situation

3.- Make a list of the possible results and consequences.- The way we respond and act in every situation goes according to our thoughts, beliefs and emotions so think about how you’d act, what you would do and the results of those actions.

4.- Now take the list from steps 2 and 3, read them and think about them. You´ll find out that they´re negative and you´ll get negative results.

5.- Challenge your thoughts and beliefs from step 2 and turn them into positive by looking at the situation from another angle, think about all the positive outcomes that can come from it.

6.- Analyze the situation and think about what you have control over, once you define what you have control over think about what you can do with those options to get the best results.

This takes time and practice, most of us react to all situations, we don´t stop to think about what´s really happening, what you have control over, what´s the best option and what you can do. We´ve been educated to react instantly without thinking on the consequences and this only makes the problem and situation worse, it can lead to big mistakes in the future and increases stress. If you practice this with small events with time you´ll find it easier and easier and with enough practice you´ll go through this process instantly which leads to better choices and results.

Here is an exercise you can do that is a little quicker, the next time you are going through a hard event or situation start by thinking of what are the things you can control, once you recognize them think about what´s the best choice, action or thing you can do to get the best results. Always think a positive outcome and how you can use what you can control to get those results.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

How stress impacts your fitness results

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If you´ve been following a fitness program to lose weight and you´re sure you´ve been working so hard on the diet and exercise program but you´re not getting the results you want then stress may be blocking your results.

I want to mention that stress can affects every one of us in different ways, when we talk about weight some people can gain weight, some can find it really hard and almost impossible to lose weight and for others stress makes them lose weight.

Stress leads to unhealthy choices, it can be the reason why you keep eating junk and processed foods, it can also be the reason why you´re not exercising as hard as you need to or you may even skip workouts, it can also affects the quality and quantity of sleep which creates more problems.

Life is very stressful and most of us live with chronic stress and we think it´s normal, we´re adapted to live this way and even when it´s unhealthy and leads to health problems in the long term we all finds ways to manage, in most cases people use unhealthy options and choices to cope with that stress, but to make things worse we all go through difficult situations that increase stress a lot more. Situations or challenges like being fired from your job, or getting a new job, changing home, school, the loss of a love one, etc.

When you are stressed your body goes into the “fight or flight” response, cortisol and adrenaline increases, most systems on your body that are not useful at this moments are turned off and all energy goes to your arms and legs, all this is done to keep you alert to any perceived threat so that you can respond the best way possible and stay safe.

Stress affects all hormones and systems in our body but we´re all going to have different symptoms or respond different. A lot of people tend to eat a lot more, the binge, they have cravings especially for unhealthy foods and they find it really hard to stop eating this is one of the reasons why they gain weight. Other people don´t have appetite, they don´t feel hungry so they eat a lot less and lose weight. In this both cases it´s really obvious why someone who has gone or is going through a hard situation lose weight or gain weight, it´s obvious that they are stressed out and they are eating less or eating a lot more.

There are other cases where people seemed to be stock in their weight, for some reason they just stopped losing weight. There could be different reasons why people plateau and you may have experienced this. If you are sure that you´re following a diet and exercise program for a couple if weeks and the scale doesn´t move and you don´t see any changes physically then you need to think about everything that is going on in your life right now. If you´re going through a difficult situation then probably your levels of stress are high, you may have some symptoms but you´re not aware of them, if you have headaches, pains, mood changes, fatigue, insomnia, difficulty to stay focus and to remember things, stomach pain. All this are sings of your body that you are highly stressed and it will be very hard for you to lose weight. Maybe you are getting to obsessed with your weight loss goal and wanting to be perfect with your program is what´s stressing you.

Even when you are able to keep eating healthy food and stick to your program stress may be the one holding you back because of hormones. We´ve talked in past posts about that weight loss is about hormones not only calories, if all hormones and systems of your body are not working properly and are not working in balance you´ll find it very difficult, almost impossible to lose weight. When cortisol is high chronically other hormones that lead to fat loss are being blocked so instead of losing weight you may actually gain weight or maintain your weight.

If your goal is weight loss you need to focus on how you lifestyle affects your hormones and metabolism, if everything is working efficiently then it is really easy to lose weight and keep it off this is why I talk about stress and sleep, they both impact your fitness goals and health. It´s not only about diet and exercise, sleep and stress also play an important role.

Let us know by leaving a comment below and on Twitter if you have thought about how stress impacts your weight loss results and if you are aware of your emotions every day.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

How to manage stress

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We´re living very fast paced times where most of us don´t pay attention to our health until something´s wrong, until something happens and our body can´t handle more and we get sick. When it comes to health most of us think of diet and exercise, but we forget about stress and sleep and they´re both important.

Nowadays we´re all living with high levels of stress and that stress is the cause of 90% of all visits to the doctor, it´s the cause of many diseases or at least it makes diseases or illnesses worse. We worry and put a lot of attention to the food and lack of exercise when we´re trying to make a change but sometimes just by doing some daily exercises that helps us lower stress can give us way better results and can actually make it easier to stick to a diet and exercise program.

Stress is not always something we can see physically until it is really high, when you´re under a lot of stress you may feel tired, angry, your body hurts, you may have pain, feel tense, have headaches but most of the time we don´t have symptoms or we´re not aware of them because we´re so busy with our daily activities.

Unfortunately we´ve gotten used to living with high levels of stress and we think it´s normal, we go through stressful situations every day from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep, situations like waking up late, getting stuck on traffic and we arrive late to the office, maybe school, our boss or teacher, all the work we need to do, the classmates or coworkers plus some day we get that sad or unfortunate news that makes everything worse. We didn´t pass the exam, we get fired, someone we love has been diagnosed with a chronic disease, etc. Life is tough so we need to find ways that help us keep daily stress low and to manage that increased stress that comes from unfortunate situations.

There are different options or different tools that helps us manage and lower stress but you need to find the one that works best for you, we´re all different and what works for me may not work for you, here are some ways to help you manage stress.

1.- Find the root cause of the stress.- In some cases it´s really obvious what causes the stress, it may be a new project we´ve been assigned, or being fired, changing home, school or job, a health diagnosed. In other cases it may be harder to find the root cause so you need to be aware and listen to your body, food can be a cause of stress like allergies.

2.- Improve your diet.- Eating highly processed foods that contain unhealthy seed oils like canola, safflower, corn, soy, cottonseed, sunflower, grapeseed, ricebran and sugar are toxic for your body, for some people gluten and dairy can also be huge problem so you need to be aware of what you eat and how you feel so that you can find which foods are causing problems. You can start by avoiding unhealthy seed oils, sugar, flours, maybe gluten and dairy.

3.- Exercise.- You don´t need to do intense exercise to lower stress, going for a walk is a great option, find some physical activity you enjoy doing. Some people like kickboxing, box or martial arts as a way to get all the energy out. Make sure you have a trainer or someone that can help you perform any exercise the right way and avoid injuries.

4.- Do something you love every day.- We all have hobbies or some activities that we love, for some of us it´s painting, others like playing a musical instrument, reading a novel, writing. Schedule 20 to 30 minutes to do that activity you love and make sure that you are completely focus on it so that your mind can relax.

5.- Meditation.- Meditation or mindfulness is another way to lower stress, there are different types of meditations and mindfulness so find one that you feel comfortable doing.

6.- Breathing exercises.- Something as simple as breathing can calm your body and mind and lower stress, just by taking your attention from any thought and anything that´s going on to focus on your breathe, focus on slow inhales and exhales.

This are 6 strategies you can use to help you lower stress, we´re all under stress so we need to find the tools or strategies that help us lower it, when things get harder and we go through difficult situations that increase stress breathing exercises are an excellent tool you can use to lower stress in that moment. The moment you start feeling anxious, or nervous, or you feel your heart rate increasing, your muscles tense or any other symptom of stress which usually comes after we received a dab news you can stop for a moment and start focusing all your attention on your breathe, take a deep breathe in, hold it for a couple of seconds and exhale slowly repeat this 5 or 6 times and you´ll feel more calm and relax.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you´ve been looking for strategies to help you lower stress and if you´ve used some of them how did you feel?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

How to deal with challenges while keeping stress low

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We all face challenges and in fact we need some challenges in our life, those positive challenges help us grow and achieve things we first thought were impossible, that´s what life is about facing challenges and achieving our full potential but there are some challenges that will increase stress and can cause problems in all areas of our lives. Those unhealthy challenges are the ones we´re going to talk about today.

It doesn´t matter if we have a 9 to 5 job or if we decided to start our own business or if we are still at school we will face some challenges every now and then, maybe our teacher let us a huge project that represents a huge challenge or our boss chose us as leaders of a project, starting a business also represents a huge challenge and it doesn´t stops there, we can add to this accidents, injuries, diseases, health issues physical and mental, new home, new school, grief, divorce, unemployment, death of a loved one, etc.

The way we respond to each challenge is what determines if it has a positive or negative impact on our health and life, in most cases any challenge that aligns with our purpose or is related to something we love or enjoy then it´s easier to have a positive attitude and mind-set which leads to a positive result, when we face a challenge with the right mind-set knowing that it will help us grow mentally or emotionally or professionally maybe all of them we are opened to more opportunities and we find more solutions.

Every time we set a goal or start a new project we know we will face challenges but knowing that we´re working on something we love, something we enjoy and care about make all those challenges easier to over come and makes the process more exciting.

When we face a challenge that is unrelated to our interests, we don´t like anything about it, there´s nothing we enjoy, it doesn´t align to our purpose or values then every challenge gets more complicated we close ourselves to opportunities and we only see block roads. If there´s nothing that motivates us towards an end result then we won´t have the right mind-set to get over all the challenges and the chances of us failing increase.

All challenges are opportunities to grow, we can learn from failures or we can give up we can find opportunities or we can only see block roads, what determines this is if whether we´re able to find a positive result after completing a challenge, is it aligned to your purpose, to your believes and values? Do you care about it? Is it something you´re interested in? When we´re at school there are lectures or classes tat we´re not really interested in them but we need to take them and those represent a challenge that can lead to stress, since we´re not interested in them it´s harder for us to stay motivated, this also happens in any job where you need to do a project or activity you´re not interested in and you don´t like which makes it really harder to work on it.

What you can do is be patient, the best option is to do something you enjoy doing but for most of us is hard so patience is key. Set small activities you can get done in 45 minutes and work in intervals, concentrate on one activity for 45 minutes and take a 10 to 15 minutes rest. Try to find out something positive you can learn from it, do not stress, let go of all anger, resentment and negative emotions and focus on facing the challenge with a more open mind so you can be opened to more solutions.

When it comes to accidents, injuries, health, death of a loved one you still ne patient, do not over react, practice breathing and meditation exercises to stay calm, write in a piece of paper all your negative thoughts and emotions, let go of all the anger, resentment, injustice and burn that paper when you´re done. Be more optimistic, this means that you accept that things are going bad right now, you accept you´re facing a challenge but you know you´re going to make it pass this challenge, you know that in the future some days, weeks, or months from now everything will be great. Take it one day at a time, what can you do to face this challenge the best way possible? What can you do now to start making progress in a positive way? It can be as simple as breathing.

Let us know by leaving a comment below and on Twitter how do you react to challenges? Do you get stressed and anxious?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

How to use meditation to reduce stress

00 Intro
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Most of us live very stressful lives, we wake up every morning and follow the same routine every day, some of us get up late and try to arrive on time to our job to work with people we don´t feel comfortable, doing something we don´t like and leading with a boss that doesn´t care about us.

Doing something you don´t like with people you don´t feel comfortable and dealing with a boss who doesn´t care about you creates stress plus the stress from traffic, paying the bills and other worries we all have leads to a life of chronic stress. This leads to a lot of health problems, but fortunately there are ways or strategies you can use to lower stress.

If you´re living this kind of life one of the best steps you can take is quit your job and find one where you love what you do or start something yourself. I know this is impossible for most people so in this case you can use meditation as a tool to help you manage stress.

Different types of meditation had been practice for thousands of years, it´s not clear where and when it began and why, most of them used them as a practice to train the mind, to center, to calm the mind, to bring calmness and tranquility, to live in the present.

You may have heard of different types of meditations, some of them are:

Guided Meditations.- You can download some of this where you start by focusing on your breathe and relaxing your body and slowly you start visualizing different images on your mind depending and you need to use your sense while keeping the image of your mind like smells, colors, textures.

Mantra Meditations..- You repeat a word or phrase in your mind or low voice, this helps you stay focus on your breathe and the word or phrase you are repeating and since you have something to work and focus on it´s harder for your mind to start to wander.

Mindfulness Meditation.- Here you focus on your breathe and keeping your body and mind calm and relax, in this case it´s easier for your mind to wander. You want to increase awareness and stay in the present.

Some benefits of meditation are:

1.- Reducing negativity

2.- Reduce anxiety

3.- Reduce stress

4.- Focus on breathing

5.- Focus on the present moment

6.- Increase awareness

7.- Calm and relax your body and mind

8.- Improves sleep

9.- Improve concentration

Mindfulness meditation is one you can start practicing right now, because you don´t need any guidance or mantra in the only thing you need is find a place that is quite, take a seat (I recommend seating on the floor), close your eyes and bring all your attention to your breathe, take a deep breathe in, hold it for a couple of seconds and let it out slowly, while you do this slow breathings relax your body, imagine all muscles of your body relaxing. As you do this you´ll find that your attention and your mind starts to wander, this is fine, do not judge or get obsessed or angry with your thoughts and your mind wandering just the moment you are aware of it bring your attention back to your breathing. This all you need to do to start your meditation practice, you can start with 5 minutes and increase the time. With time you´ll be able to make each session longer and add some visualization exercises, a gratitude practice and other tools that help you stay present all day.

Since we´re living very fast-paced times and there´s a lot of expectations we need to meat in different areas we demand so much of ourselves, we demand a lot to our body and mind but we get to a point where it´s just too much so we need to take some time for ourselves every day to leave all the negativity out of our minds, all the worries, fears, anxieties and relax, concentrate on breathing deeply and slowly, to center, to connect with our desires, to focus on our projects.

Do this at night before going to bed, take a seat on the floor, close your eyes and start breathing slowly, take a deep breathe, hold it for a couple of seconds and let it out slowly, take a couple more of slow breathes in and out, focus on relaxing all the muscles in your body, feel all your body and mind relaxing and calming, once you are completely relaxed focus your entire attention on your breathe. Do this for 5 minutes.

Let us know how you feel after doing this small exercise for a couple of days by leaving a comment below and on Twitter.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

The impact of stress on our health

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When we talk about health and we want to make some changes we start with food and exercise but, stress plays a huge role on improving and maintaining optimal health. If you want to take your health seriously then you need to know some of the impacts stress has.

We´ve know that some stress is good, is beneficial for our body and we need it to maintain optimal health and get stronger but, the problem is with chronic stress because it takes almost all hormones and systems of our body out of sync and when they´re out of sync our body is not working properly and this leads to health problems.

We´ve talk on other posts about what is stress and the types of stress, we´ve also mentioned that food can increase stress by harming the gut bacteria. Stress has an impact on our gut, hormones, inflammation levels and all this creates a cascade of positive or negative effects on our body and brain.

From the moment you wake up to the moments you go to sleep you´re running from one activity to another even if they´re all routines you follow to get to school or job, get your homework and projects done, go to meetings, have lunch, come back home and every single day is full of stressful situations this type of stress is toxic for your body and since you go under this stress every day it gets chronic keeping it high for long periods of time and this is what leads to most visits to the doctor.

We can increase stress in our bodies in so many different ways, from what we eat, to the quality of sleep we get, from our environment, social media, news. Being surrounded by negativity including negative people. Since stress can be increased in so many ways it can seem impossible to escape from it but when you realize that it affects your hormones and systems and it may the cause of you not being able to function at your best then you can start taking actions.

We know that stress is a response from our body to keep us safe, this is how our ancestors survived but nowadays it´s constant and this constant stress affects our gut, our hormones and increase inflammation. It can affect our gut directly by the food we eat, if we eat healthy nutritious food then it can use all those nutrients and send them to the right places on our body, it regulates metabolism and also neurotransmitters which is why food affects our mood.

Stress also has an impact on our hormones it increases cortisol and adrenaline which can lead anxiety if it stays high chronically, when cortisol is high oxytocin is low, oxytocin is the love hormone and this imbalance in hormones can lead to problems with relationships.

Chronic inflammation is linked to chronic diseases and inflammation is a response of chronic stress, it´s the defense that our immune system sends to defend our body from bacteria, virus or stress.

It´s clear that stress has a highly negative impact on all hormones and systems of our body so we need to focus and work on lowering it to maintain optimal health. One great way to reduce stress is exercise, breathing exercises are also helpful, stop watching the news all day and reduce the time you spend on social media. Another way is to stay focus on the activity you have at hand and live in the present, stress also comes from staying mentally on the past which leads to depression and thinking about the future which leads to anxiety so focus on staying in the present moment.

Stress is also created on our mind, our mind creates and all kind of thought and most of them are not real, what you focus on is how you feel and what you attract so if you catch your mind thinking on the future and creating worries or if it´s stuck in the past bring it to the present and take a couple of minutes to do some breathing exercises to calm you down and don´t forget to exercise at least 5 days a week and make sure you get high quality sleep every night.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you know what´s the biggest cause of stress in your life and what strategy or tool is the one you use to lower it.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

ExerciseStress

How exercise helps lower stress

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Whether you love or hate exercising we can´t deny that it has so many benefits for mental and physical health, lowering stress is one of those benefits so if you want to lower stress start moving.

Exercise is stress for your body, and it increases cortisol but, the right amount of exercise is necessary, and it helps our brain and body work better. Exercise improves mood, when you do some physical activity in the morning it helps you get ready for a great day by making you feel happy, excited and motivated. If you exercise at night after work, it can help you release the stress from work and get a better night sleep.

Exercise has a positive impact on every organ, system and hormones of our body, from our brain, heart they all get the benefits of it.

Exercise reduces cortisol and adrenaline which are stress hormones and it increases endorphins which are the ones that make you feel good and improve your mood.

Exercise is a great tool to lower anxiety and depression but, you need to be consistent with it, exercise is considered to be a really effective way to lower stress, anxiety and depression and it´s free. The type of exercise you do needs to be something you like and enjoy doing so that you do it for at least 5 days a week.

The bad type of stress which is chronic stress is caused by daily situations and the people we need to cope with every day, from traffic, to teachers and classmates at school or our boss and coworkers at our job, we also need to consider all the worries and keep our mind busy like paying bills, finance, relationships, home. Exercise helps you get rid of all those stressful and negative situations and when you shed some of that stress, you also get rid of tension, when you finish your workout you feel a lot more calm, relax and focused, you are more present and it´s easier to go through your day with a better attitude.

We know that exercise is one of the 5 principles of fitness because it help us maintain optimal health but it also helps us lose weight and maintain a lean physique, as you improve your physique and start looking and feeling a lot better your self-confidence increase. Feeling more confident knowing that you can accomplish what you set your mind to and feeling more energized lowers your levels of stress. Sometimes stress increase because we feel uncertain about our capabilities, we don´t trust and we don´t believe in ourselves, this increases stress so by getting in shape and feeling more confident the stress that comes from this lack of self-esteem decreases.

Cardio exercise has been shown to be more helpful to reduce stress, and if you have the opportunity to go outside and exercise in nature the benefit increases, spending some time in nature helps you calm and relax, it brings you more to the present moment, if you are able to go for a walk or jog outside in nature it´s the best thing you can do lower stress, to feel more calm and relax and improve your mood.

If your goal is to use exercise to reduce stress then you´ll need at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise 5 to 6 days a week, feel free to choose the activity your prefer because you need to be consistent with it, it´s better to keep changing the exercise or activity to keep it fun and entertaining also to give your body a new stimulus, otherwise you can get bored and stop.

Exercise also lowers stress by improving the quality and quantity of sleep, maintaining optimal health depends of so many factors and the 5 principles of fitness play an important role on maintaining your body in balance, lack of sleep or poor sleep increases stress, but when you exercise especially in the morning and if done outside you get better sleep at night and less stress.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you exercise just to look great or if you use it as a way to reduce stress and maintain optimal health? Exercise needs to adjusted according to your goals as with all the 5 principles of fitness but there are ways to modify it and use it for a couple goals at the same time.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam